While it was nothing new to say, I had already gone through the Cave of Training once. The first time I came, my Hero’s tomb raiding sense had activated and so I had even tried exploring every corner of the place. But having realized now that there was nothing to be found, I advanced with the goal of swiftly clearing the cave no matter what.
Clack! Clack! Clack!
Bam! Crack! Crunch!
When taking out the delay due to the training puppets being created in phases, the actual time I spent fighting amounted to no more than fleeting moments.
I reached the last area, the “Transcendentant’s Room” which was prepared for the next generation Hero, in almost no time.
I had four Z-rank Skills. As it had been smooth sailing even when I had one Z-rank Skill, at present, the cave was no training but rather a trifling walk in the park. As I had expected, the female priest was waiting at the entr-… Mm?
“Who are you?”
A tall male demon stood there in place of the female priest. Although I didn’t sense the Dark Energy distinctive to demons from him, he did have the other trait in the form of a black pair of horns protruding from above his ears. He was attired in a pure-white tuxedo, while his only weapon seemed to be the scimitar hung on his back. The sword was by no means small, yet it felt relatively small because the demon was so tall.
I examined the man’s Status out of habit.
▷Race: Old Demon
▷Skills: Curse(Z) Hallucination(Z)
The interior of the last room was identical to how it was in the 6th Playthrough, excluding this old demon who courteously bowed and gave a greeting.
“Hello, new generation Hero. Welcome to the museum that commemorates the foolish First Hero. I am the demon in charge of managing this place, and I do hope you will not hold the prejudice that all demons are absolute enemies. This is a place which also serves to tell that truth.”
I listened without a word, for the time being. This demon didn’t know about me yet, didn’t know that it wasn’t my first time here.
“Long, long ago, the First Hero, who was summoned to Fantasia from another dimension, grew stronger as you did. He led humanity and the interracial allied forces with his overwhelming talent, sociability and omnivorous appetite, and in the end clashed against the Demon King to wrest victory.”
“Enough with the unnecessary details.”
I was already aware of all this.
“Then do you know of the story that follows afterwards? The Hero who defeated the Demon King made a family with beautiful princesses, Elves, mermaids and Saintesses, and lived a happy lovey-dovey ever after. This is the version that you, perhaps, know?”
“Just get to the point.”
I looked about the garden of the temple. In the 6th Playthrough, the garden had been so well-maintained to the point of giving off a sense of mysophobia, but now I saw thickly grown weeds which made it appeared like it had been neglected for a long time. Could this also be due to the switch in the person in charge?
In any case, the demon proceeded to claim, as the female priest had, that the “Truth is different!”. The story he told was subtly different, however; he was depicted as a victim rather than a playboy. The Hero who slew the Demon King apparently didn’t have a happy ending.
The demon butler continued to speak.
“Hahah! You have a hasty temper, I see. As you might have already guessed, the First Hero became an unnecessary existence with the enemy vanquished.”
The demons who sought supremacy over the universe fell into chaos as the defeated First Demon King was sealed. From that point on, no one could stop the righteous Hero, and in theory, the universe should have achieved peace.
“Look, butler. If you want to say that the First Hero began to be kept in check by his allies, then you might as well spare me the details now. Anyone can see that much coming. Shall I try guessing it? Sick of his miserable wife and wife’s family meddling in his business, the Hero must have run away from home.”
“… Correct. I see that you have amazing insight.”
“It’s basic. Don’t try to butter me up.”
“Hahah! And you are humble too.”
The demon butler responded in a wily manner.
Instead of retorting, I slowly looked around the inside of the temple. Overall, it hadn’t changed from the last time I saw it; however, the small changes I found bothered me quite a bit.
First was the management. I had felt this at the sight of the garden as well, but dust was heaped up inside of the temple; it was evidence that it hadn’t been cleaned for a long time. It wasn’t bad to this extent when the female priest was in charge. While the place had been emptied out by raiders, she had at least kept the floor and windows clean. With the person in charge being changed to the demon butler, however, the cleaning wasn’t done at all.
Just like a house that was robbed.
I spotted the original home owner. She wasn’t wearing the priestess outfit I saw her in the other day, but a set of half-transparent crimson lingeries that clearly showed her private parts. She was staring vacantly outside a window in a bewitching posture with her butt sticking outwards, while her heavy breasts and slender arms leaned against the window frame.
There was no way she couldn’t have seen me at this distance, yet the female priest didn’t even send a glance my way.
And there was a reason that explained why.
▷Race: Old Human
▷Job: Archpriest(Religious Influence→Glamor↑)
▷Condition: Administration, Hallucination
It was obvious as to who was behind the “Hallucination” on her Condition.
“Hahah! She’s a specter of the past who was the Hero’s wife. There is no need to pay mind to her as she is in the midst of dreams and cannot see us. Now then, new generation Hero. The truth lies ahead, waiting.”
The demon butler was ultimately the same as the female priest; he guided me to the golden statue modeled after the First Hero located in the deepest area of the temple. I was seeing the First Holy Sword once again. Would this demon try to have me seize that sword like the female priest had?
For the time being, I decided to tacitly try my luck.
“That Holy Sword’s the reward?”
I intended on sending his jaw flying the moment he answered in the affirmative, as it was necessary to be wary of his Z-rank Hallucination which had completely fooled even the female priest. Or perhaps I was already under his spell and yet to realize it—that’s how unsettling a Skill it was.
“It is not.”
“Please watch carefully.”
The demon butler walked near the statue.
The statue showed a reaction. It seemed to have been designed to attack anything that approached the Holy Sword, even if that may be the administrator; however, the demon, who had expected as much and had prepared accordingly, was a step ahead.
By using hallucinations to make the statue attack nothing but air, he snatched away the Holy Sword in but moments, yet the statue returned to where it stood, unaware that the sword was taken away.
“… Like taking candy from a baby.”
The Skill Hallucination…
It was extremely tempting.
The demon butler cast a curse which emitted an ominous aura on the stolen Holy Sword and immediately afterwards…
… a crack appeared in the Holy Sword’s blade.
Then in the end, it completely broke apart and became useless.
A forced laugh escaped my lips—that’s how ridiculous what happened was. Would a Holy Sword be called a Holy Sword for show? It was a Holy Sword of legend because it possessed a sacrosanct element. Of course, there could be no absolutes, but nevertheless a Holy Sword wasn’t an item so easily destroyed like that.
The corner of the demon butler’s mouth curved up in a smirk.